MAX W. SCHAEFFER, MAJ, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Max Schaeffer '28

Date of birth: September 30, 1905

Date of death: January 29, 1945

Age: 39

Lucky Bag

From the 1928 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Max was lost on January 29, 1945, while a prisoner of war of the Japanese. It's unclear exactly which path he took, though he was aboard Oryoku Maru. It is likely that he was then taken aboard Brazil Maru, which reached Moji on January 29.

Prior to his capture at the fall of Corregidor, he was the Services Company Commander for the 4th Marines; he was in command of the regimental reserve during the Japanese assault on that island.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Wartime Service

From Corregidor.org:

The new organization went into bivouac in Government Ravine as part of the regimental reserve. The reserve had heretofore consisted of men from the Headquarters and Service Companies, reinforced by Philippine Air cadets and Marines from Bataan. Major Max W. Schaeffer, who had replaced Major King as reserve commander, had organized this force of approximately 250 men into two tactical companies, O and P. Company O was commanded by Captain Robert Chambers, Jr. and Company P by Lieutenant Hogaboom; the platoons were led by Marine warrant officers and senior NCOs.

A good part of Schaeffer's men had primary duties connected with regimental supply and administration, but each afternoon the companies assembled in the bivouac area where the troops were instructed in basic infantry tactics and the employment of their weapons. Despite the constant interruptions of air raids and shellings, the Marines and Filipinos had a chance "to get acquainted with each other, familiarize themselves with each others' voices, and to learn [the] teamwork" so essential to effective combat operations. Frequently, Major Schaeffer conducted his company and platoon commanders on reconnaissance of beach defenses so that the reserve leaders would be familiar with routes of approach and terrain in each sector in which they might fight.

There is more mentioned about Max's actions during the frenetic action on Corregidor following the Japanese landing.

Remembrances

From History Net:

Major Schaeffer, the bravest man I have ever known, asked for volunteers to see if there was anything left of Battery Geary, and up the hill we went.

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

Major Max W. Schaeffer (MCSN: 0-4357), United States Marine Corps, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Major

Related Articles

Francis Williams '30 was closely and frequently involved with Max on Corregidor.

Memorial Hall Error

One memorial, and the USMC casualty lists, have his rank as LTCOL.


Class of 1928

Max is one of 17 members of the Class of 1928 in Memorial Hall.